It comes on out of nowhere; an intense, burning sensation in your chest that literally feels as if your heart is on fire. You have heartburn.
Despite the moniker, heartburn actually has absolutely nothing to do with your heart. But, the condition causes symptoms that mimic those that are associated with heart disease and a heart attack. In reality, however, heartburn is the term used to describe an irritated esophagus. The tube that connects the stomach and the throat, the esophagus can become irritated by stomach acids.
The symptoms of heartburn arise as a result of a malfunction with the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), a muscular valve that is situated where the stomach and esophagus meet. Under normal conditions, the LES keeps stomach acids where they are supposed to be – in the stomach. When it is functioning properly, the LES opens up, allowing food to pass through to your stomach, or enabling you to expel the buildup of gas that collects in the stomach during digestion in the form of a belch, and then it closes again. However, the LES is malfunctioning, it can open too frequently or not close tightly. When this happens, stomach acids can work their way up into the esophagus, causing the painful burning sensation that is associated with heartburn.
Certain foods and drinks can either relax the LES or increase the production of stomach acid. Increased production of progesterone can also relax the LES, as can certain health conditions.
No matter what’s causing your heartburn, there’s no doubt that you are going to want fast relief. The following 10 home remedies could help.
1. Drink more water
Water can be a very effective remedy for heartburn. First and foremost, ice-cold glass of water will soothe the pain associated with heartburn, thereby reducing your discomfort. It also helps to dilute the high levels of acid that make their way up into your esophagus when you have heartburn, and also pushes those acids back down into your stomach. Additionally, water can help to prevent heartburn, as it assists with the breakdown of the food you, triggering the production of enzymes that break food down.
2. Drink a mixture of baking soda and water
For quick heartburn relief, try mixing some baking soda into your water. Baking soda is often suggested for heartburn relief. Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, is alkaline, so it helps to neutralize the acids of the stomach that are causing the burning sensation associated with heartburn.
To use this remedy, simply add ½ teaspoon of baking soda to an 8-ounce glass of cold water. Mix the two together until the baking soda dissolves, and drink the mixture. You should feel almost immediate relief.
3. Aloe juice can provide relief
Aloe is often touted as a miracle plant. It is used as a natural remedy for a variety of conditions, ranging from rashes to burns, and swelling to fungal infections.
Aloe can also be a helpful remedy for treating the symptoms associated with heartburn. That because it allows has anti-inflammatory properties, as well as analgesic properties, both of which can be highly effective for soothing heartburn.
For fast relief, drink a cool glass of aloe juice to combat the symptoms of heartburn once they arise. You can also try drinking aloe juice before eating to keep heartburn at bay.
4. Avoid lying down
If you have heartburn, lying down could actually make the symptoms worse. The LES, the valve that connects the stomach and the esophagus, works in conjunction with gravity.
The effects of gravity actually help this valve to close, thereby containing stomach acids and preventing them from working their way up into the esophagus. When you lie down, gravity can’t do its job as efficiently, which means that the LES may not be able to close completely.
If you have a case of heartburn, avoid lying down to prevent the burning sensation from getting worse.
5. Remain in an upright position
As described above, gravity plays a big part in helping the LES work properly. When you are in an upright position, gravity helps to close the LES, thereby preventing stomach acids from working their way up into the esophagus.
If you have a case of heartburn, try to remain in an upright position to allow gravity to do its job. If possible, try to stand up, or sit up, as much as possible.
If you have to lie down, prop the upper portion of your body up with pillows.
6. Chew some gum
Chewing gum might seem like a bad idea when you have heartburn, as it activates stomach acids, which you would think would be counterproductive when you have heartburn.
However, chewing gum can actually provide relief for heartburn. Why does it work? – Because when you chew gum, your mouth produces more saliva, and saliva dilutes stomach acids that make their way up into your esophagus, thereby soothing the effects of heartburn.
So, the next time you get about of heartburn, pop a stick of gum in your mouth; just make sure it’s sugar-free.
7. Drink some chamomile tea
A cup of chamomile tea is famous for its soothing effects. It treats a variety of ailments, from stress to insomnia, as well as digestive health issues, such as heartburn. Why is chamomile so effective for easing heartburn? –
Because it has anti-inflammatory properties that can calm the inflammation that is occurring inside the wall of the esophagus as a result of heartburn.
This can help to quickly ease the painful effects of this condition. Brew a cup of chamomile tea and allow it to cool before drinking.
For even faster results, try chilling it with ice cubes.
8. Eat some bananas
If you are suffering from a bout of heartburn, eating bananas could provide you with some relief. Bananas contain compounds that act as a natural antacid.
These compounds neutralize the stomach acids that are causing the burning sensation in your digestive tract. Additionally, bananas are easy to digest, so they won’t further aggravate the condition. To reap the maximum benefits, allow the bananas to fully ripen before you eat them.
And, while they are easy to digest right out of the peel, you can also mash them up to make digestion even easier.
9. Drink some ginger tea
Ginger root is a popular natural remedy for various digestive issues, including nausea, bloating, and gas. It also provides heartburn relief. That’s because ginger has anti-inflammatory properties that soothe the wall of the esophagus, which becomes aggravated as a result of the stomach acids that travel up into it and cause heartburn.
It also has analgesic properties, which will help to dull the pain associated with this condition. To make ginger tea, grate some fresh ginger root and steep it in boiling water.
Strain the ginger from the water and allow it to cool to a temperature that is tolerable to drink. You can also ice it, which will provide even more soothing relief.
10. Avoid alcoholic beverages
Alcohol is known to trigger heartburn. That’s because it aggravates both the stomach and the esophagus. Additionally, alcohol causes inflammation, which also combats the symptoms associated with this common ailment.
On top of that, alcohol weakens the LES, making it easier for stomach acids to push their way up into the esophagus.
Since alcohol causes heartburn, it makes sense that you should avoid drinking it if you are suffering from this condition, as it will only make matters worse.